business legal issues

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Ensure the smooth flow of your business by choosing the appropriate legal structure, obtaining permits and licenses, and protecting business assets. Although formal legal advice cannot be offered, this workshop will provide guidelines for your new venture. Jennifer Hoenig, Senior Associate, West Hill Technology Counsel; Megan Taylor, Of Counsel, West Hill Technology Counsel

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  • 1. Business Legal Issues
  • 2. MASSACHUSETTS SBDC NETWORK SMALL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT CENTERS UMASS AMHERST SBDC STATE OFFICE BERKSHIRE REGIONAL SBDC CENTRAL REGIONAL SBDC AT CLARK UNIVERSITY NORTHEAST REGIONAL SBDC AT SALEM STATE UNIVERSITY SOUTHEAST REGIONAL SBDC UMASS BOSTON REGIONAL OFFICE & MINORITY BUSINESS CENTER WESTERN REGIONAL SBDC SPECIALTY CENTERS MINORITY ASSISTANCE MASS EXPORT CENTER GOVT PROCUREMENT (PTAC)
  • 3. SBDC at Salem State University Counseling Outreach Sites Salem (Regional HQ) Amesbury Beverly Billerica Gloucester Lawrence Peabody
  • 4. REGIONAL SPONSORS
  • 5. SBDC CONTACT INFORMATION PHONE 978-542-6343 FAX 978-542-6345 EMAIL SBDC@SALEMSTATE.EDU WEB SITE WWW.SALEMSTATE.EDU/SBDC ONLINE CALENDAR OF UPCOMING WORKSHOPS REGISTER ONLINE FOR WORKSHOPS DIRECTIONS TO SBDC OFFICE & WORKSHOP LOCATIONS
  • 6. Business Law http://www.westhillcounsel.com/ 900 Cummings Center, Suite 206-T Beverly, MA 01915 Jennifer Hoenig Business Attorney 978-274-7058 jhoenig@westhillcounsel.com Megan Taylor Of Counsel, HR Consultant 978-274-7054 mtaylor@westhillcounsel.com
  • 7. Business Law Building Your Team Choice of Entities and Formation Taxation Record Keeping Intellectual Property Workplace and Employees
  • 8. Building Your Team With the Best Advisors Four Basic Advisors to all Companies Accountants-CPA Insurance Agent Banker Attorney Shop around, budget, and integrate
  • 9. Factors to Consider Comfort Level Expertise and Experience-Business Matters; Client Industry Scope of Work-Resources available to handle Fees hourly vs. flat; alternative arrangements reserved for start-ups; how to best budget for Dont be afraid to negotiate!
  • 10. Choice of Entity Sole Proprietorship Corporation- C and S Limited Liability Company: LLC Partnerships: General Partnership Limited Partnership (LP) Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)
  • 11. Considerations Ease of Formation/Incorporation Business Location and Jurisdiction e.g., domestic vs. foreign incorporations Limited Liability Income Tax Treatment Ownership/Management Structure Exit Strategies
  • 12. Intellectual Property: Protect Your Brand! Copyrights: - Company Website - Key Content Trademarks: TM or - Company Name - Company Logo Patents
  • 13. Your Business Website Copyright 2014 Westerly Widgets, Inc. All rights reserved. Not 2011 westerlywidgets.com. E-Newsletter, blog posts, etc. Terms of Use Privacy Policy
  • 14. WISP Almost all businesses are required to have a Written Information Security Program on file in their business office under MA law. Purpose of WISP: to create effective administrative, technical and physical safeguards for the protection of personal information of residents of MA. Prevents fraud, protects privacy, identity theft and provides for notification if breached
  • 15. Minimum Standards Develop, implement, maintain and monitor a written program to safeguard personal information. The program must fit the business The program must address paper and electronic data Concerned with reasonably foreseeable external and Internal risks
  • 16. Record Keeping Corporate Records Personnel Records-hiring, payroll and performance Medical Records Business Records Tax Records
  • 17. Employment, Pre-Hiring, Hiring, Benefits and Termination Laws have become and voluminous At the outset, must develop a strategy for dealing with employment and human resource issues-at all levels- i.e. from Top-Down. Collect the right Forms-I-9 (immigration status documents-verification of employment eligibility within 3 days of hiring), W-4, H-1B Visa if applicable, etc.
  • 18. Interviewing And Selecting The Candidate: Prohibited And Risky Questions CORI Reform-5/4/12 Protected Classes Residence, Lifestyle And Economic Status Family Status Union Allegiance Criminal History Immigration Status Medical/Health Information Lifestyle
  • 19. Protected Classes: Military Service You May Ask: Have You Served In The U.S. Armed Forces? What Is Your Military Service History? What Experience Or Skills Did You Acquire? Do Not Ask: Have You Served In The Military of Another Country? How/Why Were You Discharged? Are You Receiving A Service-Related Disability Pension?
  • 20. Residence, Lifestyle, Economic Status You May Ask About: Address And Length of Residency Willingness To Relocate If Job Requires Ability To Meet Overnight Travel Requirements Membership In Professional Societies Or Associations Ability To Commute Availability To Work Overtime
  • 21. Medical/Health Information Can An Employer Ask An Applicant To Undergo A Medical Examination? Only After An Offer Must Be Job-Related Do Not Ask About: Workplace Injuries Leaves of Absence Genetic Information Visible Physical Limitations Health Insurance Coverage
  • 22. Reference Checks Why Check References? Release From The Applicant (Job Application) Types Of Reference Checks Background Checks in light of Mass. CORI law. Practical Tips including what is your company policy on giving references?
  • 23. The Form I-9 Process Verification Of Employment Eligibility Of All Employees Required Exceptions Cannot Knowingly Hire, Recruit, Refer For A Fee Or Continue To Employ Illegal Workers Must Be Completed Within 3 Days, And Retained For Longer of 3 Years or 1 Year After Employment Ends May be stored electronically
  • 24. Critical Employment Policies: Limit Liability And Exposure While Serving Your Business Needs
  • 25. #10: Sexual And Other Harassment Zero Tolerance Policy When Does The Policy Apply? What Are Your Responsibilities? Report Harassment Complaints Prompt Investigation Disciplinary Action No Retaliation Best Practices conduct annual training
  • 26. Other Important Policies Electronic Communications (Including Social Networking) Data Security Protection Commissions Maternity/Paternity Leave (and FMLA, if applicable) Mobile Device Policy Remote Working Policy Wage and Hour Policy (overtime)
  • 27. Managing And Documenting Employee Performance, Discipline And Discharge
  • 28. Regular Performance Evaluations And Improvement Measures Fair Timely Comprehensive No Surprises
  • 29. Elements Of An Ideal Performance Evaluation Form Key Performance Measures Measures From Job Description Organizational Tasks Initiative Teamwork Reliability Knowledge Of Job Attendance - Punctuality Strengths/Weaknesses Goals Comments Employee And Reviewer Signature And Acknowledgement
  • 30. Effective Performance Improvement And Discipline System Articulate Clear Expectations Centralize Discipline And Be Consistent In Treatment Reduce Risk Of Litigation Support Defense In The Event Of Litigation Be Fair: The Punishment Should Fit The Crime
  • 31. Contents of Written Warning Name/Date/Supervisor/Title Prior Disciplinary Action Current Disciplinary Action Describe Specific Conduct Describe Reasons For Disciplinary Action Performance Improvement Plan Specific Improvements Need to be Made At-Will
  • 32. Document, Document, Document! It Is Important To Document All Conversations With Employees Regarding Conduct Or Performance Problems! Documentation Tips Avoid Excess Documentation Personnel File